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Do you need renters insurance in a shared house?

If it’s time to find a place of your own, you need to know what type of insurance to get. After all, your personal belongings are both valuable and precious to you. Renters insurance can give you peace of mind and get you back on your feet if something you own is stolen or damaged.

What is renters insurance?

Living in a shared house with other people – whether good friends or complete strangers – means there’s usually lots of activity going on. In the whirlwind of day-to-day life, it’s easy for items in a shared house to go missing or get damaged. That’s where renters insurance can help. Renters insurance can help financially protect tenants from the costs of unexpected damage or theft to their personal property and legal liability for incidents that happen at home. 

Protecting your valuables from theft and unexpected events – for example, floods, fire and lightening – should be reason enough, but other motives for taking out renters insurance include access to emergency accommodation if your home became unlivable or compensation if you, or any guests visiting your home, were injured or their property damaged.  

So, while you might not own the property, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider insurance. You can’t prepare for the unexpected but having renters insurance can help you to get repairs or replacements of your contents if the need arises.

What does renters insurance typically cover?

Renters insurance generally provides varying levels of cover for:

  • Personal property: This include personal items you keep at home such as furniture, jewellery and watches, art and collectables, and sporting equipment. 
  • Emergency accommodation: If your home becomes inhabitable, renters insurance will usually provide temporary accommodation or living expenses up to a dollar amount or for a set period of time.

Things like accidental loss and damage, glass breakages and electrical motor burnout tend to be optional extras to most standard policies. 

It’s important to note, too, that some policies will have cover limits (up to a set amount) for certain items. For example, you may find that a heirloom piece of jewellery that’s been in your family for generations may only be insured for $500 under some policies, so make sure you read the fine print before you choose a level of cover. If you have valuables worth more than the highest cover limit, ask your insurer about choosing the value of these items or setting up additional personal valuables cover.

What doesn’t renters insurance typically cover?

While renters insurance can provide substantial financial protection against most common sources of unexpected damage or theft, it doesn’t provide cover for all unexpected events. For example, renters insurance won’t provide cover for burgleries with no sign of forced entry and it won’t provide cover for anything not listed on your policy including newly acquired items or your roommate’s property. The unexpected event will also have to listed on your policy in order to make a claim, which you will usually find in the product disclosure statement (PDS).  

How much cover do you need on a renters insurance policy?

Your landlord is usually responsible for the physical property you’re living in, but not any of your personal belongings. So, if some or all of these were damaged or stolen, you’d have to foot the bill. And it doesn’t take long for the total to add up. 

To work out how much cover you need, start by calculating the total value of your belongings. Take into account your furniture, clothes, white goods and electionics such as your computer, TV, speakers or stereo, and your camera. Once you’ve gone from room to room and assessed each item, use our home contents calculator to get an idea of the total value, and the total replacement cost.  

How do you make a claim on a renters insurance policy?

Before you can make a claim, you’ll need an inventory of all the items you want to include. Along with a list of items, you’ll need details to prove ownership and value – for example, receipts, photographs and brands. If you’re making a claim related to damages or theft, make sure you document the damage or loss immediately after the event. Once you have all the details ready, initiate the claims process with your insurer. You can usually start the process online with support from your insurer available.   

The only thing worse than your personal belongings getting damaged or lost is not having the money to replace them. Renters insurance could help you get back on your feet if your personal belongings are stolen or damaged.

Need Insurance?

Want to know more about insuring your belongings in a shared house? Learn more about our different levels of cover here.

Renters insurance explained

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Important information

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 824KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2021)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 619KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed in the period between 5 April 2021 and 30 June 2021)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 382KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed in the period between 1 July 2019 and 4 April 2021)

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Allianz Australia General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319, which is a corporate authorised representative of Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708 (Allianz Insurance). St.George Bank – a Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL 233714 arranges the insurance under a distribution arrangement with Allianz Insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.

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